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NYT: Ohio Islamic Center Wants $4 Million Gym to Keep Youth from Joining ISIS

NYT: Ohio Islamic Center Wants $4 Million Gym to Keep Youth from Joining ISIS

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Dublin, Ohio residents are so worried their town’s young people may “succumb to the Islamic State’s savvy social media appeal to join its fight on the battlefields in Iraq and Syria” that a board member of the Noor Islamic Cultural Center “asked for a $4 million federal grant to build a new gym and classrooms for the facility.”

“We need to have more activities for our youth,” Lila Al Sibai told the New York Times

The Times reported: 

Community leaders are so fearful their youths may follow the Islamic State’s propaganda that, during a 90-minute meeting with more than 60 local leaders, police officers and advocates, they pressed [Homeland Security Secretary Jeh] Johnson to prove the government is sincere in its offers to help.

Some community members expressed support for the government’s outreach efforts and were encouraged by Johnson’s visit. Yet, according to the Times, Johnson “faced a litany of grievances from a group of mostly Muslim leaders and advocates.” Others remained wary of the government’s intentions. “Muslim advocates say there is deep suspicion that, despite all the meetings and the talk of outreach, the government’s main goal is to recruit informants to root out suspected terrorists,” the Times reported.

Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities Linda Sarsour said the distrust between community members and the U.S. government makes cooperation difficult.

“I don’t know how we can have a partnership with the same government that spies on you,” Sarsour told the Times.

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